Why I love the internet

I currently home school Miss Whaleoil who is 16. Being an ex English and History High School teacher I can assist her with most of her subjects but her current level of Maths is well beyond my understanding. She uses the ACE curriculum for Maths, Science, Etymology and Business Math which is student directed learning that I am able to supervise after completing ACE Supervisor training.

To pass a test in ACE you have to score at least 80% before you are allowed to progress to the next level. If you fail you have to redo the entire unit of work so it is crucial that you understand the topic thoroughly before you progress from the checkup to the self test and then to the final Pace test for the unit of work.

Last week for the first time Miss Whaleoil was unable to fully understand the examples provided to help her understand how to correctly complete some very complex equations in her Algebra pace. What she needed was help step by step to see where in the equation she was going wrong. Hiring a Maths tutor once a week for 1 hour will not solve the problem as she does math every day and needs to be able to ask for help when she needs it.

Google to the rescue.

Online Math Tutor

Online Math Tutor

Did you know that for $19.99 a week she can have online live help from a tutor anytime? We tried it today and she live chatted the tutor. They were able to work on an equation together on a virtual whiteboard. She wrote a part and the tutor wrote a part. How cool is that? An expert on tap when she needs them for $19.99 a week. She can even select tutors who specialise in certain types of math eg algebra. The tutor she initially chose from a photo referred her to another who understood this particular type of Algebra. The website I have linked to has tutors for 40 different subjects! You get access to all 40 for one weekly charge. This is a fantastic business model for the consumer and I hope also for the tutors who can work their own hours to suit from home. With the ability to help from another country because of the time zone differences, 24/7 availability is possible.

The internet really is amazing. Our world had been expanded so that a girl in New Zealand can get help from a Tutor in America.


Removal of playground rules results in reduction in bullying

Who could possibly have foreseen that letting kids get rid of their energy instead of keeping them caged in an artificial social PC cage could have such obvious results?

Marika Hill reports

Ripping up the playground rulebook is having incredible effects on children at an Auckland school.

Chaos may reign at Swanson Primary School with children climbing trees, riding skateboards and playing bullrush during playtime, but surprisingly the students don’t cause bedlam, the principal says.

The school is actually seeing a drop in bullying, serious injuries and vandalism, while concentration levels in class are increasing.

Principal Bruce McLachlan rid the school of playtime rules as part of a successful university experiment.

“We want kids to be safe and to look after them, but we end up wrapping them in cotton wool when in fact they should be able to fall over.”

Letting children test themselves on a scooter during playtime could make them more aware of the dangers when getting behind the wheel of a car in high school, he said.

“When you look at our playground it looks chaotic. From an adult’s perspective, it looks like kids might get hurt, but they don’t.”

Kids need to learn by testing themselves against their environment.  And at the risk of stating the politically incorrect obvious:  ladies, stop trying to protect kids from getting hurt.  They need to get hurt to learn where their own limits are.   Read more »

How to handle the teachers

Has anyone wondered why teachers, when they threaten strike action, never schedule it for the school holidays?

I have. Especially when the bleat about hard they work, and how holidays aren’t actually holidays, and how hard they actually work in the holidays. (I can’t believe a principal is so stupid to put this on a school blog, but there you have it)

As students leave for their two weeks holiday I hear teachers making plans with their teams for meetings for planning and assessment during the two week break and I wish all those people who say teachers have so many holidays could see the reality.

You would think just once in their miserable lives they would schedule strike action for the holidays wouldn’t you? But no, I guess that tells us exactly what holidays really are to teachers, same as for everyone else, holidays.

Anyway I digress. Teachers are actually miners who dress up sort of nice, they should be treated as such when the go about working at the “chalk face” and other such nonsense.

However it seems to me that Anne Tolley needs a little help. First up she needs to take some lessons from Merv Wellington. He knew how to treat bleating highly unionised whinging teachers. He ignored them.

The second thing that Anne Tolley can do is follow the play book of Chris Christie, the governer of New Jersey. He is sorting out the teachers unions in New Jersey.

OLD BRIDGE, N.J. (CBS 2) — Determined to turn New Jersey’s education system on its head, Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday unveiled a tough-love reform package that will make classroom achievement — not seniority or tenure — the basis for pay hikes and career advancement in Garden State public schools.

Christie is turning his take-no-prisoner’s style to the classroom, demanding a top to bottom overhaul of how New Jersey students learn and teachers teach. And that means undoing tenure, seniority and other union work rules.

“We cannot wait. Your children are sitting in these classrooms today. We cannot wait to make it better,” Christie told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Uh huh….seems they have the same problems in New Jersey as we have here. But wait it gets better.

Unqualified teachers will feel the lash. The governor is demanding that teachers in kindergarten through fifth grade actually pass tests in reading and math in order to be certified.

“It might lead to the firing of lousy teachers and bad principals who hurt our children,” Christie said.

The governor wants to turn the old seniority system inside out and put quality teaching ahead of lack-luster performance. He will:

* Prohibit salary scales based on seniority

* Grant raises based on classroom performance

* Give tenure based on classroom performance

“We are paying a fortune for something that is not giving our children the hope and the faith and the trust that their tomorrow can be better than their today,” Christie said.

The governor said he would appoint a task force to come up with standards to measure teacher achievement.

Educational experts applauded the governor’s actions.

Bwahahaha, making teachers actually sit tests. Brilliant!

Og course the teacher unions are a mite upset.

A spokesman for the New Jersey Education Association attacked the governor’s plan saying that once again he was “trying to implement education reform without any input from educators.”

They’ve had their chance for input, same as the teachers here. the results are before us of 50 years if their input into the education sector. Time to do something different.

So long as the teachers unions and Teachers Council advocate to protect the most useless teacher and hide the names of criminal teachers, including those convicted of sex crimes, I will campaign against them.